Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Episode 87 - If The Shoe Fits Show Notes

Click on the "Read More" to see the full show notes

Bunny Trails

Episode 87: If the Shoe Fits

Record Date: August 11, 2020

Air Date: August 12, 2020


Welcome to Bunny Trails, a whimsical adventure of idioms and other turns of phrase. 

I’m Dan Pugh 

And I’m Shauna Harrison

Each week, we take an idiom, or other turn of phrase, and try to tell the story from it’s entry into the English language, to how it’s used today. 



From dictionary: -  If something belongs or pertains to you, accept it. This proverb first appeared as “if the cap fits,” which may have referred to a fool's cap. The later version has become more common and is associated with the glass slipper in the fairy tale, “Cinderella.”


“Daniel Defoe used the earlier phrase in the satirical poem The Dyet of Poland. Defoe had the work printed in London in 1705 but, as it was a rather vehement critique of the English parliament, Defoe used the flimsy pretence that it had been printed in Dantzig and was the work of 'Angliopoloski of Lithuania'. Defoe's point in the poem was that readers are responsible for their own opinions; he (or rather Angliopoloski) may have written the poem but that any conclusions drawn from it were owned by the reader, not him:”

There is this idea out there that the original phrase was, “If the cap fits” .... As in, if the fool’s cap fits. Which I love, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. The earliest use I could find in print was thanks to Oxford English Dictionary.

1816    ‘Quiz’(pseudonym) The Grand Master, or, Adventures of Qui Hi? in Hindostan: a hudibrastic poem in eight canto  iii. 55   If the cap fits him, he may wear it.


 f.  to know best where one's shoe pinches: see pinch v. 5b. Also in many other similar phrases.

c1386    Geoffery Chaucer’s Merchant's Tale 309   

But I woot best where wryngeth me my sho.

▸ ?a1513    W. Dunbar Poems (1998) I. 137   Thow knawis best quhair bindis the thi scho.

1639    J. Taylor Divers Crabtree Lect. 96   No man can tell where his shooe wrings him, but hee that weares it.

1749    T. Smollett tr. A. R. Le Sage Gil Blas III.  viii. vi. 136   He defrayed the expence of every body; so that there I did not feel where the shoe pinched.

1890    W. E. Norris Misadventure xlviii   Only after the deed has been done does the shoe really begin to pinch. 

The Unsearchable Riches of Christ: Meat for Strong Men and Milk for Babes. (Third edition corrected and amended) by Thomas Brooks · 1661 


Two Proposals by Anthony BURNABY · 1696

There are some wonderful rejoinders for this phrase… The most common, of course, is 

If the shoe fits, …… wear it. 

I also found

……… get a matching hat and broom shirt

……… get the matching dress and bonnet

……… and use it to hit your husband 

The Sportsman's Dictionary; Or, The Gentleman's Companion for Town and Country

you must see that the shoe is long enough towards the holes; let it be put on with eight nails, like the shoe that fits the perfect hoof.

A Quick Thank You

This week’s episode is sponsored by our Patrons, with special thanks to our Logomorphology Interns Pat Rowe and Mary Lopez. Your support makes Bunny Trails happen week after week. 

All of our patrons get access to a monthly bonus episode, as well as behind the scenes chats with Shauna and I. But best of all, our Patrons get to know they are helping provide a safe place for your brain for 30 minutes every week. You can find more at

Pop Culture and Modern Examples

Criminal Minds (TV Series) • 2014 episode If the Shoe Fits features a serial killer who is experiencing some sort of psychotic break and believes she is the equivalent of a modern-day Cinderella waiting for her prince charming. When a man fails to meet her expectations, she murders him… with her her high heel. the unusual puncture wounds points to the unsub being female, dressed in fancy clothes (the puncture wounds being made by a stiletto heel, and a secondary witness describing the dress worn by the probable unsub still having a tag hanging off it) placing herself in a Cinderella fantasy, she looking for her Prince Charming, and ending up killing the men when the fantasy turns to reality of them not being her Prince Charming. 

Hamilton - a.k.a. The Best Musical of All Time … okay, I’m not sure if this is true. But I’m obsessed right now. How much of a rap song can we quote before we hit copyright issues? I mean, if I’m bad enough, is it even the same thing? 

Secretary Jefferson, you have the floor, sir

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

We fought for these ideals, we shouldn't settle for less

These are wise words, enterprising men quote 'em

Don't act surprised, you guys, 'cause I wrote 'em (ow)

But Hamilton forgets

His plan would have the government assume state's debts

Now, place your bets as to who that benefits

The very seat of government where Hamilton sits

Hamilton interjects with, “Not true!”

Oh, if the shoe fits, wear it

If New York's in debt, why should Virginia bear it?

Uh, our debts are paid, I'm afraid

Don't tax the South 'cause we got it made in the shade

Wrap up...

I love this phrase because it is one that works well in so many ways. It isn’t negative or positive on its own and it’s just easy to understand and keep. Plus, I love the fantastic origin stories about this one! 

<Talk about Danny Klein's new book, Schmegoogle>



That’s about all the time we have for today. If you like the show, please leave a review on your podcasting app, or tell your friends about the show on social media. Word of mouth is the best way to build an audience.


Thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you again next week. And until then remember... 

Words belong to their users.

No comments:

Post a Comment